Sony taps Protiviti to hunt for Playstation hackers

by Vault Consulting Editors | May 05, 2011

The 77 million gamers who subscribe to the Playstation Network are pissed. Not only has their online gaming network been down for weeks—depriving countless nerds and shut-ins of their Call of Duty fix (myself included)—their credit card information is also currently making the rounds on the Malaysian black market. While Sony has apologized profusely for the security breach that compromised millions of users' information and necessitated the PSN blackout, Playstation clients and even Congressional watchdogs have demanded an improved response.

So, Sony did what any sprawling Japanese conglomerate would do after a colossal hack: it hired Protiviti. Protiviti, the New York Times reports, was hired alongside two "cybersecurity detective" firms, Data Forte and Guidance Software, to investigate all facets of the criminal intrusion. The FBI is also helping out.

No one quite knows what Protiviti's exact role in the investigation is, but the Times suggests that it has something to do with the firm's risk assessment unit. Protiviti has also kept mum on its involvement. An unrelated press release from 2008 shows that the firm struck up a "strategic alliance" with Guidance Software to provide eDiscovery support for clients—a service that entails "the identification, search, collection, preservation and processing of electronically stored information." The pair must be working on a similar project for Sony; a forensic IT audit, if you will.

Protiviti was founded in 2002 in the wake of the Arthur Andersen break-up; the company's first 760 employees came directly from Andersen's internal audit and business risk consulting practices. Though it initially made a name for itself working on Sarbanes-Oxley (Sarbox/SOX) compliance issues, the firm's internal audit and risk units have since taken the reins.

With only around 2,500 people on staff, Protiviti is a small firm and a relative unknown compared to some of its larger competitors (one recently-surveyed consultant said, "It sounds like an acne medication"). But there's no doubt that its involvement in such a high-profile, closely followed engagement should do much to introduce the Protiviti brand not as a topical medicine, but as a folk hero to nerds and shut-ins (myself included) the world over.

For more information:
NYT
Protiviti, Guidance Software Team Up (2008)

Filed Under: Consulting


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